By Jan Carlo Anolin
PBA star Paul Lee knows how important teamwork is in basketball.
Being the point guard of the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and having played for the national team, Lee embraces the value of being the consummate team player — inside the playing court and off it.
It’s especially handy once he takes off his jersey and unlaces his shoes when he gets home.
With his wife Rubie, being a father to baby Tokyo isn’t really that difficult to Paul Lee.
“Okay naman kami,” Lee said, while carrying Tokyo, who points out to her mother waiting near the south gate exit of the Smart Araneta Coliseum recently. “Hindi naman mahirap basta tulong-tulong lang kami.”
How does Paul Lee manage this so-called ‘father time?’
As early as 4 a.m., Paul is already up and running. He needs to finish all morning routines and workouts before practice starts from 10 in the morning to 12 noon at Ronac Gym in San Juan. The rest of the day then goes to full-time parenting.
“Pag-uwi ko kailangan sa kanya (Tokyo) na ako naka-focus,” Paul said. “Kailangan ko nang tulungan ‘yung wife ko.”
In the PBA, Paul acquired the nickname “Angas ng Tondo,” growing up as the gutsy and fearless 6-foot guard from Tondo, Manila.
He calls the play, attacks the rim and shoots long range with his game-face on. He is also known for sinking clutch baskets when push comes to shove, earning another moniker: “Lee-thal Weapon.”
That is inside the court though. Off it, Paul is anything but ‘maangas,’ turning into a caring father and loving husband when he gets home.
The lively side of Paul is evident on social media, particularly on Instagram. His feed and stories are filled with photos and videos of everything under the sun – be it practice, hoops, date time and family bonding.
When the clock strikes five in the afternoon, it is time for a short stroll with little Tokyo, with Paul and Rubie touring their daughter, aboard her kiddie bike, along the streets in their neighborhood.
The 31-year-old veteran guard never fails to capture those precious moments in selfies and videos.
“Tokyo! Say hi!” Paul would say, then post numerous clips on his Instagram account @lethalweapon.
Tokyo usually responds. But sometimes she doesn’t, distracted by children playing and dogs loitering on the streets. When Tokyo gets bored of biking, she gets off and walks — with her dotting father right beside her.
“Napag-usapan na namin before na if we have time talaga, as much as possible kailangan naming ituon [‘yung time] sa kanya. [Either] going to the mall, going to the playground or maglalakad kami sa hapon.
“‘Yun ‘yung kailangan namin gawin as parents para alam mo ‘yun, [naroon] ‘yung bonding at para hindi rin siya magsawa sa loob ng bahay.”
Paul and Rubie have been married for three years and will toast their fourth anniversary on October 25, two weeks after they celebrate baby Tokyo’s second birthday on Oct. 8.
Chalk one up then for Team Paul Lee. Nifty assists and precision alley-oops passes abound within this growing family.